Kansas News


red ribbon12Sedgwick County - More than thirty years after the first cases of HIV and AIDS surfaced, these diseases are still serious health problems that require our attention.

In order to promote regular testing, raise awareness and commemorate those who have lost their battles with HIV and AIDS, the Sedgwick County Health Department will participate in World AIDS Days. This year's theme is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 13 to 64 get tested at least once for HIV as part of routine health care, and high-risk groups get tested more often. The health department will offer the following testing on Monday, Dec. 1:

*   Free conventional venipuncture and rapid HIV testing at the Main Clinic, 2716 W. Central in Wichita, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins will be available.

*   Free rapid testing for students, faculty and staff at Wichita State University from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Student Health Services, Ahlberg Hall, conducted by Sedgwick County Health Department staff.

For more information, contact the Sedgwick County Health Department at 316-660-7300, or visit www.sedgwickcounty.org.


Same-Sex marriage in Kansas

kansas-flag-rainbowBy Thomas Witt, Executive Director
Equality Kansas

post-press updates are ongoing
and are also available at Equality Kansas

Posted Tuesday Nov 18 2014, 6:36 pm here

Greetings all -

This is a follow-up to our previous breaking news that the Kansas Supreme Court has lifted its stay on marriages in Johnson County. The high points from their order:

- Johnson County may begin issuing marriage licenses to all previous applicants first thing tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
- Johnson County Chief Judge Moriarty was acting within his authority to interpret state law, the state constitution, and the various rulings and orders from the Federal courts, when deciding whether to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
- The Supreme Court implied that other chief judges around the state may make similar decisions to issue marriage licenses.
- They did not rule on whether same-sex marriage is legal in Kansas. Instead, they have deferred to the Federal courts, and as mentioned above, have left it to chief judges around the state to interpret those Federal rulings.
- Notwithstanding the above, the Court dismissed arguments from Attorney General Schmidt that the Federal court injunction was meant to apply to only Douglas and Sedgwick counties.

So what does all this mean? It means that, for now at least, we continue as we have - county by county. Here's the latest list of counties that we have confirmed are issuing marriage licenses:


WSU LGBT student group changes name, focus

SpectrumBy Elle Boatman

WICHITA - Wichita State University’s That Gay Group! (TGG) is a thing of the past. But it hasn’t gone away - just changed its name. Beginning this semester, WSU’s LGBT student group has adopted the new moniker, Spectrum: LGBTQ and Allies.

    There wasn’t an active LGBT student group on-campus in 2000 when a student approached Mike Madecky, who was then the Rhatigan Student Center (RSC) Activities Director, asking where to go to meet people. He responded, in part, by inviting people to a meeting.

  wsu-TDOR  In discussing a name for the newly forming group, the founders - Mike Madecky, Patrick Hutchison, and Christopher Kelley - figured they’d be referred to as “that gay group” no matter what the actual name was so they decided to own it by actually naming it That Gay Group!

So why the name change?


Organist Cameron Carpenter brings distinctive, exhilarating sound to Salina

By Ciara Reid, staff reporter

 SALINA - Every once in a while a musician will come along and completely flip the script in terms of how they use their respective instrument – Cameron Carpenter is one of those artists. Born in northwestern Pennsylvania in 1981, Carpenter began playing the organ at age four, and culminated his studies at the Julliard School in New York City.


Points of Interest

Riverfest 2015 Poster & Button Artwork Contest

Riverfest2015Poster-ButonContestImagine your artwork on billboards, T-shirts, buttons, posters, commercials and more!

Enter the Riverfest 2015 Poster & Button Artwork Contest sponsored by Emprise Bank and create a design based on the 2015 theme, "Button Up. Have a Blast!"

The winning artist will receive a $3,500 cash prize and bragging rights galore!

Complete information, (including the contest rules and entry form) is available at WichitaRiverfest.com. Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014.

Check out the contest rules today.


Wichita’s Alternative Gift Market offers a different shopping experience

By Jeanne de Grasse

AlternativeGiftsWICHITA - Wichita Alternative Gift Market (WAGM) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a special opening ceremony. WAGM showcases charities and projects that lets shoppers “do good” and feel good with their holiday gift-giving.

    “Act Locally, Impact Globally” is the theme for the hundreds of such market events held all around the country in affiliation with Alternative Gifts International (AGI) in support of its annual catalogue of 30 national and international charitable projects and programs. As well as impacting globally, shoppers at WAGM also have the opportunity to impact locally by supporting four local organizations: Head to Toe Hygiene Pantry, Fairmount GoZones!, Urban Younglife, and Dear Neighbor Ministries.

    The market is Saturday, Nov. 8 from 10am-4pm at Grace Presbyterian, 5002 E. Douglas, with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Native American blessing by Elder Mark Brown happening at 10:30am.

    When asked why people choose alternative gifts, Julie Anne Baker Brin, who has been involved with WAGM for over five years, said that “shoppers feel that this is a truer expression of the holiday spirit for them; that it’s so uplifting to be able to give a gift that makes a real difference in someone’s life.”


Deli Day: a taste of New York without the airfare



WICHITA - Congregation Emanu-El’s annual celebration of Jewish cuisine is back! The fundraiser offers delicious Jewish deli-style meals and plenty of take-out choices. Meal choices are a brisket dinner or corned beef sandwich meal with latkes, strudel, a drink and more for just $15.

Or visit the Jewish bakery for all sorts of take-home treats - challah, blintzes, hamantashen, macaroons - that you can’t find anywhere else.

The event is open between 11am-6pm, Nov. 9,
at Congregation Emanu-El, 7011 E. Central.





Trust Women brings comedienne and writer Lizz Winstead to Wichita

Nov13 TrustWomen

WICHITA - Trust Women’s 3rd Annual Gala featuring a performance by political satirist Lizz Winstead will be held Thursday, Nov. 13 from 6-9pm at the Crown Uptown, 3207 E. Douglas.

    As co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and Air America Radio co-founder, Winstead has helped changed the very landscape of how people get their news.

    But she wasn’t just behind the scenes. As a performer, Winstead brought her political wit to The Daily Show as a correspondent and later to the radio waves co-hosting Unfiltered, Air America Radio’s mid-morning show, where she brought on board hip-hop legend, Chuck D and politico Rachel Maddow.

    Tickets for the Gala including cocktails, dinner and the comedy show are $75. Show only tickets are available for $40. For more information, call 316.425.3215 or visit www.itrustwomen.org


Reviews & More

Lawrence band Vigil and Thieves rocks and rolls with debut album, fall tour

VigilandThievesBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

LAWRENCE - Lawrence-based band Vigil and Thieves may have just released their debut album, defective [book one] in early September, but they give off a vibe of seasoned musicians ready to flex their road muscles on an extensive national tour. Self-described as “a group of vagabonds who ignore the rules of real life and instead create sounds and poetry that will make you want to dance,” Vigil and Thieves is Sarah Storm (vocals, guitar, and keys), Steph Castor (guitar) – formerly of the band Grenadina, and Andrew Flaherty (drums).

    While in Illinois for a show, Sarah Storm took some time to chat with Liberty Press about all things Vigil and Thieves:

Liberty Press: Tell readers a little bit about your new band, Vigil and Thieves.
Sarah Storm: Our band, Vigil and Thieves was originally Andrew Flaherty and I. The two of us have been playing music together for four years starting in Lawrence and roaming around Phoenix and the San Diego area for a while as a duo. We came back to Lawrence where Steph Castor joined us on lead guitar. Which was really the missing link and turned our sound into a much fuller, more melodic kind of rock and roll that we had been always kinda wanting. We are all about telling stories through lyrical poetry in the hopes that others could relate to our songs and gain something positive through listening, singing along, or maybe even dancing a little bit.

LP: Your debut album was just released. What was the writing/recording process like?
SS: I write all the lyrics and my guitar parts usually with a melody thought out. Andrew and Steph must have a gift for reading minds because as soon as we start putting drums and second guitars together as a group it usually comes together flawlessly. We are super lucky to have such great chemistry and be so like-minded because when we all come together working on a song we capture the mood and the emotions in the lyrics with matching tones and melodies.

    [defective] book one is the first half of a full-length album that we wrote as the result of feeling kinda displaced. I was kicked out of my parents’ home during my senior year of high school, which made me feel like there was something wrong with me. A lot of the songs are a little bit tragic but they aren’t supposed to be sad songs. I am an optimist and we all wanted to keep the message of our music hopeful. I may write about feeling homeless or maybe even a little bit crazy, but as cliché as it may sound I think everything happens for a reason and we are all in control of what we do with our experiences and looking forward is always better than looking back.

LP: Speaking of the recording process, you produced the record. What was that process like?
SS: The recording process was extremely stressful. I went to school for recording and interned at an amazing studio in Phoenix called Tallcat. We managed to gather a bunch of recording equipment when Andrew came into some cash from the World Series of Poker Main Event. We had tried recoding elsewhere beforehand, but nothing ever sounded exactly how we imagined.

    We, by luck, acquired half an office building in Ottawa, KS, which we decided to call Vigilante Studio. We spent nearly the entire four months from May to August trying to record all 11 tracks. Which, in early July, we decided was too ambitious, so we split it up. There was definitely a lot of blood, sweat and tears but we got it done. We financed the record, the master, the artwork - by our friend Kassidee Quaranta - and printing ourselves with a little help from the Flaherty’s. As overwhelming as it all was it’s a good feeling to hold the final product in our hands and say that we created something out of nothing.


New age circus act awes Orpheum audience

By Brian Hansen

WICHITA - Combining traditional European-style circus with the new-age sound of electronic dance music (EDM), Circus Electronica: Singularity blazed the Orpheum Theatre’s stage on Oct. 11.

    Circus Electronica: Singularity, considered the only show of its kind, takes the audience on a journey exploring the relationship between computer-dependent humans and the machines on which they rely.

    “The focus is on Oni, a girl who wakes to consciousness and realizes she has been transported to a world inside the Machine,” says a press release from MuseBoy.

    Throughout the 80-minute show, the audience is presented with a variety of breathtaking circus acts and classical dance. The performers exhibit extreme precision and talent with stunts ranging from bold acrobatics to ring twirling — that is, ring twirling while spinning on his head.

    “The circus acts were incredible,” says audience member, Jennifer Bewsher. “The combination of the circus with EDM made the show very unique. I have never seen anything like it.”

    EDM has jammed its way into the mainstream, pop music scene over the last several years. In this new age of music, fame of music icons has moved beyond the vocal musicians and onto the turntables of the world’s greatest disc jockeys and music producers.

    The score was composed by Brooklyn artist, Ben Talmi. The EDM artists successfully told an audible drama parallel to a visual narration. Talmi was performing onstage throughout the entire performance with occasional guitar solos. This incredible artist kept the story (and the audience) moving.

    The act was a visual duet with a musical masterpiece. Being the first show of its kind, the Circus Electronica cast set the standards high for the future of EDM entertainment.


National News

Federal Judge Affirms the Freedom to Marry in Mississippi

MississippiFlag-rainbowNew York – Today, November 26, 2014, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that denying marriage for same-sex couples in Mississippi is unconstitutional.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“Couples building a life together in Mississippi deserve the same freedom to marry as any other Americans, and today yet another court has affirmed Mississippians' freedom to marry and their equality under the Constitution. It is time for the United States Supreme Court to take up a case and end marriage discrimination once and for all.”

In total, virtually every federal and state court has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples with only one appellate court ruling the other way. As of last month, a majority of Americans live in a freedom to marry state.


Federal Judge Affirms the Freedom to Marry in Arkansas

ArkansasFlag-rainbowNew York – Today, November 25, 2014,  U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker ruled that denying marriage for same-sex couples in Arkansas is unconstitutional.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“Today’s ruling out of the deep south affirms what nearly every court in the past year has held: loving and committed same-sex couples are guaranteed the freedom to marry by the U.S. Constitution. Now is the time for the Supreme Court to take up a case and end marriage discrimination once and for all.

In total, virtually every federal and state court deciding a marriage case in the past 18 months has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples with only one appellate court ruling the other way. Once the pro-marriage rulings from the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 10th Circuits are fully implemented, same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry in 35 states plus the District of Columbia, representing nearly two-thirds of the American people


Victory! U.S. Supreme Court Clears Way for Same-Sex Couples to Marry in South Carolina

SouthCarolinaFlag-rainbow“We congratulate all the happy couples as South Carolina becomes the 35th state where same-sex couples may marry.” 

(Charleston, SC, November 20, 2014) - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the motion filed by South Carolina’s Attorney General  to further delay the start of marriage for same-sex couples.

"The order from the U.S. Supreme Court officially puts an end to the long fight for access to marriage for South Carolina’s same-sex couples and their families. This decision clears away the last obstacle to marriage equality in the state," said Beth Littrell, Senior Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta. “We congratulate all the happy couples as South Carolina becomes the 35th state where same-sex couples can marry!” 

“As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches next week, we here in the Palmetto State are so thankful that same-sex couples finally have the freedom to marry and be able to have the protections they need to take care of their families,” said South Carolina Equality lawyer Nekki Shutt, partner at Callison Tighe & Robinson.


Federal Judge Affirms the Freedom to Marry in Montana

MontanaFlag-rainbowNew York – Today U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and respect for same-sex couples’ marriages in Montana.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“Montana’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect – and that's what the freedom to marry is all about. This ruling, in keeping with nearly every other court that has ruled in more than a year, brings us to 35 states with the freedom to marry -- but we are not done until we end marriage discrimination in all 50 states. It’s time for the Supreme Court to affirm the freedom to marry nationwide and bring our country to national resolution for all loving and committed couples in every state.”

Today’s ruling follows a favorable marriage ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in cases out of Idaho and Nevada. The circuit court holds jurisdiction over Montana, as well as Alaska and Arizona, which also have the freedom to marry.


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